It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Wintrust Financial (NASDAQ:WTFC). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Fast Is Wintrust Financial Growing?
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Wintrust Financial has grown EPS by 10% per year. That growth rate is fairly good, assuming the company can keep it up.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. Not all of Wintrust Financial's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. While we note Wintrust Financial's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 28% to US$1.8b. That's a real positive.
The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future Wintrust Financial EPS 100% free.
Are Wintrust Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$5.9b company like Wintrust Financial. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Given insiders own a small fortune of shares, currently valued at US$69m, they have plenty of motivation to push the business to succeed. This should keep them focused on creating long term value for shareholders.
It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like Wintrust Financial, the median CEO pay is around US$6.4m.
Wintrust Financial offered total compensation worth US$5.7m to its CEO in the year to . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO compensation is hardly the most important aspect of a company to consider, but when its reasonable that does give me a little more confidence that leadership are looking out for shareholder interests. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Is Wintrust Financial Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One positive for Wintrust Financial is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for Wintrust Financial, but the fun does not stop there. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. It's still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Wintrust Financial , and understanding this should be part of your investment process.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
What are the risks and opportunities for Wintrust Financial?
Trading at 47.8% below our estimate of its fair value
Earnings are forecast to grow 15.15% per year
Earnings grew by 9.9% over the past year
Shareholders have been diluted in the past year
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.